Car show to help Memphis man with costs for third transplant

Memphis, Tenn., May 8, 2012 – Reginald Mayes is waiting for the phone call that will change his life. He needs a kidney transplant, but the costs are overwhelming. Volunteers are planning a car show to raise funds for his expenses.

Mayes, 27, was born with no kidney function and received his first transplant before his second birthday. He received another transplant 20 years later, and now doctors say a third kidney transplant is critical to his survival. He’s been on the waiting list since August 2011.

When he was born, doctors didn’t think he’d survive longer than a week, but Mayes is a fighter. He began dialysis treatments at 3 months old, and his mother donated a kidney to him in 1986, just before he turned 2. The kidney served him well for 20 years, but he required a second transplant in 2006, this time from his cousin. Four years later, scarring from a biopsy resulted in kidney failure for the third time. He currently undergoes frequent dialysis treatments, which take a toll on his quality of life. He’ll continue to require dialysis until he receives the transplant.

Despite all these challenges, Mayes has never given up hope. He relies on his faith and his strong support system to help him through the difficult times, and he’s optimistic about his future. He dreams of the day he can have a normal life without dialysis and constant medical appointments, and he can’t wait to participate in sports after his transplant. He received his college degree but has been unable to begin a career because of his health problems. He is eager to begin his new life and wants to use his own experience to help other dialysis patients facing similar issues.

The average kidney transplant costs approximately $250,000. Even with health coverage, he will face significant expenses related to his transplant. For the rest of his life, Mayes will need follow-up care and daily anti-rejection medications. Post-transplant medications are very costly, and they are as critical to his survival as the transplant itself. He knows several people who are interested in being his living donor, but his insurance will not cover those costs. His declining health prevents him from working, adding to the financial strain.

To overcome these financial challenges, Mayes turned to the National Foundation for Transplants (NFT) for assistance. NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps transplant patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses.

“My heart goes out to Reginald,” said Claire Prince, NFT fundraising consultant. “He’s been fighting for his health since the day he was born, and he’s faced more challenges than most people can even begin to imagine. On top of his health concerns, he has the added pressure of mounting medical bills. Those lifelong expenses can be devastating, and many people don’t realize the magnitude of costs related to transplantation. At NFT, we are dedicated to helping Reginald raise the necessary funds so he can focus on his health without constantly worrying about the costs.”

Volunteers are planning a car and motorcycle show Saturday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Riverside Baptist Church, 3560 South Third St. Spectator admission is free, but donations are strongly encouraged. A variety of family-friendly activities will be available for purchase, including rock climbing, face painting, inflatable bounce houses and more. Food for purchase includes hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ, fish plates, chips and drinks. Gospel and R&B performers will provide entertainment. Several raffles will be held for items including a flat-screen TV, gift basket and a car care kit.

The entry fee to participate in the show is $15 through May 18 and then $20 after that date. Trophies will be awarded for best of show.

For questions or more information, please contact Oney Griffin at 527-2622 or Margie Branch at 596-1185.

To make a donation in honor of Mayes, please mail a tax-deductible gift to the NFT Tennessee Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119. Please be sure to write “in honor of Reginald Mayes” in the memo line. Secure donations also can be made online at Donors should click on “Patients We Help” to locate Mayes.

About NFT
NFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Memphis, Tenn. that has been helping transplant patients overcome financial obstacles since 1983. NFT provides fundraising expertise to transplant patients by organizing fundraising campaigns in the patients’ own communities. In the past 29 years, NFT has helped generate nearly $60 million to assist patients with their expenses.

NFT currently assists more than 2,500 transplant candidates and recipients nationwide. For more information about NFT, please call 800-489-3863 or visit